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Lieutenant General Chatchawan Suksomjid braves the crush hour

Thai Visa Bar Codes in Passports 'Coming Soon'

Monday, March 9, 2009
Phuketwan Visa Latest

IMMIGRATION officials plan to introduce a bar code system for processing arrivals and departures at Phuket and other Thai airports later this year, Phuketwan was told today.

The bar codes would be placed as stickers rather than stamps in all passports, the Chief of Immigration at Phuket Airport, Police General Suksopon Maneeson, said today.

The system would mean that an officer at an arrival or departure counter could have access to detailed information instantly via a computer screen, General Suksopon said.

He hopes the new system will make the arrival and departure process more efficient, but warns that it is likely to become slower.

The Immigration department's chief from Bangkok visited Phuket airport on Saturday to see for himself how crowded the airport becomes during its weekly 'rush hours.''

Today General Suksopon said: ''Why does everybody blame Immigration for delays?

''I would like to have 50 counters available at Phuket airport but the airport cannot provide us with more space.''

Peak ''rush hour'' arrival and departure times were still causing havoc at Phuket to the point where flights were sometimes delayed, he said.

Saturday morning was especially busy, he added.

''The process is calculated so that we deal with everybody efficiently,'' he said. ''If there are simply too many people, then delays are inevitable.''

The bar code sticker system will enable officers to see details about each person departing Phuket, including how long they have stayed and where.

It wil also enable them to keep more complete detailed information about people who come and go from Thailand more frequently.

He said there were 48 officers involved in processing arrivals and departures at Phuket airport. There were 17 arrival counters, but only 13 could be used because four were not fully equipped.

Departures went through 11 counters, he said.

The Immigration system could cope with a maximum of 500 people going both ways each hour.

''Chiang Mai may have 10,000 people go through in a month but Phuket can sometimes have almost that many in one day,'' he said. ''Yet we have the same number of Immigration staff.''

General Suksopon said that it was good to have more direct flights coming to Phuket but without coordination between the airlines, there was no hope of improving the system.

Thaialand's national Immigration chief, Lieutenant General Chatchawan Suksomjid, came to Phuket on Saturday to see for himself how hectic conditions become during the peak hours at Phuket airport.

''I understand there are serious problems. It's not even the high season and tourist numbers are down,'' he told a Radio Thailand reporter.

''Immigration staff have to work very hard at such times. Training also has to take place, and that means an officer may be a little slower while they are learning.''

Tourists should allow at least two hours to go through the process if they intend to catch an international flight, he said.

''If everyone comes late, there is only one outcome, a delayed flight.''

The information broadcasts at airports could be improved to help smooth the process, he added.

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Quite often I noticed arriving tourists who start filling in their TM-Card at the immigration desk. Combine this with limited knowledge of english and you get your immigration disaster :-(

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on March 9, 2009 10:09

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"He hopes the new system will make the arrival and departure process more efficient, but warns that it is likely to become slower." Lewis Carrol has nothing on this guy.

Posted by Mango on March 9, 2009 11:59

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To help the line of tourists move more rapidly, I would suggest a different counter for people with visas, to tourists on visa free entry. Then they could put the "trainees" on the visa free counters which should be less complicated.Also, I think one counter for people with young kids would help, as Ive seen crying children and babies wait an hour after a 12 Hr flight which is very distressing for them , and the others !

Posted by liza on March 9, 2009 12:55


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